Lucas di Grassi has been announced as the official development driver for Formula E, the new FIA championship featuring single-seater cars powered exclusively by electric energy.

The concept, which will launch in 2014, was formally announced last week [see story here] and Pirelli F1 development driver di Grassi admitted that he had been impressed after testing the prototype Formula E car at Circuit de L'Eure near Paris last week.

"Formula E is the future of racing," he claimed, "Both the top speed and acceleration of the cars were great and I believe this car will reach even higher levels of performance levels in years to come. The Formula E prototype is a racing car, but the engine torque has impressed me a lot. The car isn't easy to drive, and it will be a great challenge to race it on the streets [which make up the proposed schedule].

"One of the most striking things when you drive the prototype is the noise. There is sound, lower than combustion cars and of a different nature, a futuristic sound. The aero noise can be heard very clearly at high speeds too, it is a completely new experience. I believe this will change the perception of people regarding electric cars. Formula E is the perfect merge between fast racing cars and green future technologies. This is a great opportunity for car manufacturers too."

Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings which will oversee the concept on behalf of the FIA, admitted that he was delighted to have di Grassi - who previously drove for his Addax GP2 team, on board:

"For the championship, it is extremely important to have a driver like Lucas di Grassi working with us," he insisted, "He is probably the most experienced development driver in motorsport. His input is extremely valuable as having fast and reliable cars is the biggest challenge we face as a championship. His knowledge and experience is also key as we visit potential host cities for races. To have a driver's point of view is crucial when selecting the area within the city that will host the race."

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